A charcuterie board is such a simple yet impressive way to wow your guests at every party. It can feature beautiful meats, cheeses, fruits, nuts, crackers, and anything else you can think of really! If you Google or Pinterest charcuterie board tons of different ideas and displays pop up and you can really make it your own depending on what you want to feature. Read below for my easy steps to creating a stunning board every time.
1. Choose Your Board
I tend to gravitate toward a big, round, wooden Lazy Susan type board because of convenience and the fact that it rotates so if you’re planning on putting this in the middle of a table, guest can turn the tray to easily reach the items that they want to take. I also love the look of a long, rectangle wooden board as well because it creates a beautiful centerpiece for long tables and it’s visually stunning. Choose whatever you like!
2. Start with the Cheese
When I assemble a charcuterie board I usually start with the cheese because I find they are my biggest and bulkiest items. I purchase an assortment of cheese in an odd number depending on how big the platter I’m using is. Typically I choose about 5 different cheeses in a variety of textures and flavors like soft and hard cheeses, smoky, fruity, herby, sharp, etc. That way there’s something for everyone. The cheeses I typically gravitate to are: a triple creme brie cheese, a medium to sharp cheddar cheese, a bleu or gorgonzola cheese, a smoked gouda cheese, and an herb goat cheese or a blueberry goat cheese. I usually purchase the cheese from my local Trader Joe’s or Costco. Once you’ve selected your cheeses, use them as anchors on your wood platter and spread them out to different points on your board.
3. Add Other Bulky Items
If you’re planning on adding little jars or bowls to your platter (sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t) now is the time to do so because they also take up a lot of space. I sometimes add little bowls of olives, sun-dried tomatoes, or marinated artichoke hearts. You can also add jars of honey, spicy mustard, jams, or pesto. You can also add little dishes of nuts but I prefer to lay them out in piles directly on the board.
4. Add the Meat
I love adding cured meats to charcuterie boards. They pair so amazing with the cheese and can also look stunning. Again, I aim for variety and include something for everyone. Prosciutto and salami tend to be the most popular so I always include those two meats. Trader Joe’s sells an Italian meat variety pack that includes Calabrase salame, Del Duca prosciutto, and capocollo which is a great assortment. There’s also a Spanish meat trio if you’re inclined. You can even cut up some sausages. The possibilities are endless! Add the meats around the items that you’ve already placed on your board. You can either fan them out, make little bunches, or fold the meats to create visual interest.
I think the fruit is the most stunning part of the charcuterie board because it adds bold and rich colors and just draws party guests in to the platter. I’ll usually include whatever is in season but I almost always use blackberries and grapes because they pair so wonderfully with cheese. I also use strawberries and raspberries. Cherries, figs, and dates are also beautiful on a charcuterie platter. At this point, place the fruit where there seems to be large gaps on your wood platter. Don’t worry if you’ve over bought because you can always add to to the platter and replenish as the party goes on.
6. Now for the Carbs
What’s a charcuterie board without bread and crackers? I try to purchase sturdy crackers that don’t break easily or you can even serve slices of french bread. Again, Trader Joe’s (why do they have everything?) sells a cracker variety pack that provides a nice assortment of neutral flavored crackers and more fun and zesty ones as well. I’ll sometimes include crunchy bread sticks as well to mix it up. Just fill in whatever space you have left on the wooden board with crackers.
I usually include at least 1-2 types of nuts on the platter for some needed crunch. You can include sweet, candied nuts like candied walnuts or sesame honey almonds, a spiced nut if you want to add a little spice and zest to your platter, or something neutral and popular like pistachios that can also add a bit of color to your platter. I usually just scatter the nuts and form little mounds wherever there is room left.
If somehow you still have room on your platter or you’re just feeling extra, you can always include little appetizers hidden in your charcuterie platter as well like little tomato mozzarella caprese skewers, bacon wrapped dates, dried fruits, popcorn, bruschetta toasts, or even small squares of flatbread pizza. Make it your own!
There you have it! It’s really so simple once you get the hang of it and I love that it usually turns out different every time! The beauty is you can make it as simple or fancy a you want it. What do you guys think? Will you be serving a charcuterie board at your next shin-dig?